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2021 U presidential scholars named

The awards provide talented faculty with financial backing to support their scholarly, teaching and/or research initiatives.

Four faculty members—a photographer, a gender studies researcher, an expert in relationship violence and a nurse—have been named Presidential Scholars at the University of Utah.

The annual awards recognize the extraordinary academic accomplishments and scholarly potential of mid-career faculty. Each award includes financial support to help the faculty members advance their teaching, research and artistic work.

The 2021 recipients are: Edward Bateman, associate professor in the Department of Art and Art History; Claudia Geist, associate professor in the Department of Sociology and Division of Gender Studies; Chris Linder, associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy; and Andrea Wallace, associate professor in the College of Nursing and Department of Population Health Sciences.

“These scholars are among the best of the best in their fields of study,” said Dan Reed, senior vice president for Academic Affairs. “Their work represents the exceptional teaching, research, advocacy and art produced by mid-career faculty at the University of Utah. They make the U a vibrant and exciting place for their peers and our students.”

Presidential scholars are selected each year and the recipients receive $10,000 in annual funding for three years. The program is made possible by a generous donor who is interested in fostering the success of mid-career faculty.

Edward Bateman

Edward Bateman, an associate professor and photographer in the College of Fine Arts, has earned national and international attention for the way his research in digital art, video, animation and printmaking blurs the traditional lines of the genre.

Catalyst Editor Michael Kirchoff described Bateman’s work this way:

“He not only steps outside the box, he flips it over, peels back the sides of the box, rearranges them and then adds an entirely different patina to the outside before presenting it anew. His art and images provide an alternative vision for the past, present and future, making you unsure of which one you are looking at and which one you are even in.”

Bateman’s work is included in several textbooks, including "Seizing the Light: A Social and Aesthetic History of Photography"; and in the collections of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, the China Printmaking Museum and the Novosibirsk State Museum in Russia. He has twice been short-listed for the international Lumen Prize, a preeminent digital art recognition.

Claudia Geist

Claudia Geist, an associate professor jointly appointed in the Department of Sociology and the Division of Gender Studies and the associate dean for research in the School for Cultural and Social Transformation, studies the intersection of gender, family and inequality.

Geist’s examinations of constructions of family and gender, life-course decisions about pregnancy and family planning and gendered division of labor come at a time of transition and expansion of genders. Her ongoing research analyzes ways to appraise nuance in gender expression in survey research and help future health care providers understand gender and incorporate gender identity in their interactions.

Nominator Cynthia Berg, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Science, wrote the following about Geist:

She “is a cutting-edge thinker whose ideas are key to understanding gendered issues in our time. She does her work with a unique blend of extreme competence and bounteous care, as she compiles a stunning research record that spills into high-impact teaching, mentoring, and research advancement for all throughout the U.”

Geist received the college’s Superior Teaching Award in 2018, and mentors undergraduate and graduate students through her work in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities and summer SPUR programs. Geist’s book, "Counted Out: Same-Sex Relations and Americans’ Definitions of Family," won multiple awards, including the American Sociological Association’s William J. Goode award.

Chris Linder

“Unfortunately, on college and university campuses all across the United States we spend an inordinate amount of time responding to violence after it happens,” Linder said when she was appointed to lead the McCluskey Center in January 2021. “Having a good response is really important while violence is still happening, and we want to complement the work that is already being done at the U that really improved our response,” she added. “We do want to add to that by doing some work that addresses violence from a primary prevention lens.”

Prior to becoming a faculty member, Linder worked in student affairs at the University of Missouri and at Colorado State University, where she served as director of the Office of Women’s Programs and Studies. She co-edited a book on relationship and sexual violence and is the author of "Sexual Violence on Campus: Power-Conscious Approaches to Awareness, Prevention and Response."

Andrea Wallace

Andrea Wallace, an associate professor in the College of Nursing and the School of Medicine, is studying how the social determinants of health—access to food, education, housing and transportation—impact the health of University of Utah Health patients.

A health services researcher, Wallace’s work is used to design high-quality, chronic health care service interventions aimed at narrowing gaps in clinical outcomes. Her latest research project will explore strategies for getting U of U Health patients help during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

“Our research actively moves the focus from simply acknowledging the importance of social determinants to understanding how we can address these determinants in a way that works for patients,” Wallace said. “It moves the conversation from just doing something toward doing something better.”

Wallace also serves as chair of the college’s Division of Health Systems and Community-Based Care.